Learn about life afloat the easy way

Life on a narrowboat can be as peaceful as it is idyllic BUT you need to understand the pros, cons, highs, lows, and day to day logistics in living on England's inland waterways. Let me help you find out all you need to know before you commit to what could be a very expensive mistake.


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My Own Little Marina Peninsula

Calcutt Boats Meadows Marina from Mallard mooring

Calcutt Boats Meadows Marina from Mallard mooring

The worst of the winter weather is behind us. The ridiculously cold nights (minus fifteen one night) and sub zero days, frozen marinas and ice bound boats are a distant and slightly unpleasant dream. There’s a hint of spring in the air. The snowdrops are out in force and the daffodils are coming through. On Friday morning at work I was able to work without a coat and gloves for the first time this year and, when I finished work for the day at one o’clock, I was able to sit out for half an hour with my camera.

This is the view from the peninsula that separates my group of moorings from the adjacent set. To the right you can see narrowboat Silk Purse. On the left – and looking very much worse for wear – is my boat, narrowboat James. James belongs to the owners of the marinas and Calcutt Boats, Roger and Rosemary Preen. I moved on board on my 50th birthday, 2nd April 2010 after a highly stressful bankruptcy and separation from Linda, my wife of twenty years. I love the boat. I love the location and I love the lifestyle. I’m in the process of negotiating the purchase of James with the Preens. They’re very understanding and lovely people but due to my financial circumstances money is a bit of an issue. Hopefully we can come to an agreement and I can restore James to her former glory. The inside needs very little doing. I’m more than happy with it. What do you think? But the outside needs a full and thorough paint job to seal the leaks and to hold the rust at bay. It’s a challenge, but I’ll rise to it.

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Paul Smith
 

After six and a half years living on a narrowboat on England's inland waterways, Paul and his wife Cynthia now wander Europe by motorhome during the winter, and on the Dutch and French waterways in the warmer months on their 32' Dutch motor cruiser.

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